Re: Rights and Morality (prime who?)

Gary Lloyd (
Sat, 4 Oct 1997 11:30:57 -0400 (EDT)

At 03:52 PM 10/3/97 -0400, Kevin McLauchlan wrote:
>Someone named replied to Ken:
>>Note also that my definition could be applied to non-human A/D, and
>>yes, defense against rising floodwaters, as well. The question is not
>>whether we like the definition or not, but whether it accurately describes the
>>phenomenon. If it does, then it is a universal definition.
>Ahh. But who decides that the definition is accurate? As you say, at
>the extremes we can probably achieve consensus.

Ahh. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe *you* just decided that the
definition was accurate; that it is the consensus definition; the universal

>It's not usually the
>extremes that are contentious. It's not usually the extremes where most life
>situations seem to occur.

Why are the extremes not contentious? Could it be that the vast majority
makes the primethic decision, as it applies to the extremes, and the
contention is in the ambiguous middle?

>Where we need agreement -- which means, where
>we need a workable definition -- is for the middle.

Indeed. This is the primary purpose of social agreements, to devise a
workable definition for the middle. If it weren't for the ambiguity inherent
in the A/D phenomenon, we wouldn't need agreements.

>In order for us to
>HAVE such agreement, especially for it to be potentially useful in situations
>that have not yet happened, we must have a fairly UNambiguous definition.

This is the *purpose* of such agreements. We can't just say, "This is the
definition" and expect everyone else to accept that. We can't just force our
definition on them. That would be an immoral aggression against them, in
violation of our primethic decision and their right to consent. They can't
just force their definitions on us, because that would be an immoral
aggression against us, in violation of their primethic decision and our
right to consent. Thus, the primethic decision establishes the right to
consent, which is a necessary precondition for *any* agreements.

>A definition that is least clear where most cases will occur is of less
>than no utility.

Hardly. Making the primethic decision, with agreement at the A/D extremes,
means that we respect each others right to enter into agreements, i.e. right
to consent. It provides the starting point for working out the ambiguities.

>It becomes its own additional source of contention and

It is *the* source of contention and disagreement.

>>What does this all add up to? A/D is clearly distinguishable at it's
>>extremes and ambiguous in the middle. All of the ambiguity must be
>>worked out by agreement. For this, we need the right to consent. The right to
>>consent comes from the primethic decision.
>>In unilaterally deciding that defense against aggression, in the human
>>context, is moral, and aggression, in the human context, is immoral, I
>>am claiming the right to consent for myself, and reciprocoly offering the
>>same right to all others, with the stipulation that I consider it moral to
>>defend myself against aggression.

Let's take it a step further. Here is a list of your basic rights:

1. The right to consent.

2. See #1.

3. See #2.

4. Etc.

Where do your basic rights come from? The primethic decision.

All else is by agreement, made possible by the right to consent, i.e. the
primethic decision.

When the boot of government is on your neck,
it doesn't matter if it's left or right.